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Lightweight Wonder

An expertly custom-crafted Schionning will sail the world with ease, thanks to the strong, durable DuFLEX Building System.

A highly-customised Schionning Solitaire 1520 cruising catamaran is taking shape on the Gold Coast, in the talented hands of the team at Mahi Boats, specialists in custom boat building, particularly multihulls and game fishing boats to commercial standards.

Founder and director, Dan Williams began the business 17 years ago as Hybrid Composites, before demand propelled the business into custom boat building. Dan’s background includes international experience crafting carbon fibre racing yachts.

Now, ensconced in a supershed at the Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard within the thriving boat building hub of Coomera, Mahi Boats is working on several major projects, including the 50-foot (15.25-metre) Schionning Solitaire 1520.

Described as “a serious bluewater cruiser capable of sailing the world with high mileage daily runs in comfort and safety with minimal slamming”, the Solitaire 1520 offers similar internal comfort and space to a similarly sized production boat, but is far lighter, stiffer and stronger with better waterline beam values and higher power to weight ratio.

As Dan explains, “The owners chose this model as they loved the design and the ability to customise head heights and cabins to suit their specific needs.”

There are dozens of custom features throughout the boat, starting with the entire layout.

“The clients designed the layout of the boat and we are continuing to customise everything along the way,” says Dan.

“We have raised the headroom inside. We are running a hybrid electric motor system and the boat is packed with custom electronics.

“The boat is designed to sail two-handed around the world. They owners are planning to cruise the east coast and around Australia initially, but this is the catamaran they can rely on for long-range cruising once they’re ready.”

The owners’ sailing ambitions are to be on the water within 14 months, and the team at Mahi Boats are well underway, with six boat builders engaged on the project.

Crucial to keeping the weight down and keeping to the tight construction schedule is the use of DuFLEX panels from ATL Composites, as specified by Schionning Designs.

“There are many benefits of using DuFLEX panels,” Dan states. “They are easily assembled, CNC-cut, pre-laminated panels that enable fast construction.

“They’re easy to join using ATL’s Z-Press which applies heat and pressure to cure the epoxy adhesive on the Z-Joints. Joins are fully cured in seven to 20 minutes, depending on the ambient temperature.”

Other composite products from ATL include Divinycell Structural Foam, KINETIX R246TX Thixotropic Laminating Epoxy, WEST SYSTEM 105 resin and associated hardeners and powder modifiers, TECHINGLUE R60 Structural Adhesive in easily dispensed cartridge form, and TECHINIFILL R1160 pre-blended Fairing Compound.

“ATL offers a large range of composite products, all of which we are happy to use,” Dan continues.

“All ATL products are high quality and are competitive in price across the board. The ATL team go above and beyond to make sure we have everything we need, when we need it.”